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The inaugural ChazzFest: The Charleston Music & Heritage Festival event is upon us and it’s an impressive lineup of live music from local and national acts across four stages plus Southern food, family fun, and Daniel Island hospitality.

The Charleston Music & Heritage Festival is an all-day, all-ages music event set in and around the Family Circle Tennis Center facilities at Seven Farms Drive. It’s an opportunity to check out a unique variety of music acts and dig a little deeper into the origins of American music, much of which came from the South.

“ChazzFest showcases a broad spectrum of acts, while exploring the rich musical history of Charleston and the Carolinas – a history that until now has not been fully recognized and celebrated,” say the festival organizers. “In addition to music, the Festival celebrates art – both visual and culinary – through the Heritage Artisans Expo.”

Features include foods of the region, an artisans’ wharf, and a children’s play area. The “Pirates Playland” – sponsored by Blackbeard’s Cove Family Fun Park in Mt. Pleasant (www.blackbeardscove.net) – is an interactive “pirate-themed” play area for children with a climbing wall, a jump castle, “pirate merchandise” and free eye patches provided by The Brass Pirate in the Market (www.thebrasspirate.com), face painting, balloons, and kids’ snacks. The “Artisans Wharf” includes a display from a variety of artist and vendors.

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College football fans will be pleased to know there’ll be a big screen TV on the grounds showing the major games throughout the afternoon.

Motorcycle enthusiasts may want to check out the “Harley-Davidson” page on the fest website at www.chazzfest.com for information on “The King’s Highway: The Road to Charleston from Myrtle Beach and Savannah” events scheduled along Hwy. 17.

Worth seeking on their website is an essay by Grace LeSueur (of FishBait Marketing) titled “The Musical Legend of the Lowcountry,” which touches on the evolution of music in the Lowcountry and S.C. – and how ChazzFest is designed to embrace and celebrate that history.

In particular, she writes of two famous African-American institutions that influenced the region. The Avery Normal Institute, founded in the 1860s to educate African-Americans, and The Jenkins Orphanage House, opened in 1896 by Reverend Daniel Jenkins to serve the homeless children of Charleston. The Jenkins Orphanage hired music teachers to teach musically inclined children with instruments donated from the community. The result was the formation of the Jenkins Orphanage Band, who worked within the earliest forms of jazz and American dance music.

ChazzFest also invites folks to log onto the “Info Booth” to submit their favorite memory of music in the Carolinas (or mail a submission to FishBait Festivals & Events, 3227 Walter Dr., Suite C1, John’s Island, S.C. 29455). They’re compiling an “archive of stories generated by those who have lived, listened and loved in the Carolinas – and intended to help preserve the unique qualities of the region’s music and culture.”

The lineup for The Daniel Island Stage, located in the main stadium by the main gate, includes Southern soul vocal legend Al Green and his full band, electric blues guitarist Buddy Guy, jazz/funk sax man Karl Denson and his newly-formed trio, and New Orleans-based funk/rap brass band The Soul Rebels.

Athens, Ga.-based guitar rock quintet The Drive-By Truckers and jamgrass mandolinist Sam Bush headline at the Michelob Stage across the courts from the stadium with support from New Orleans-based keyboardist Ivan Neville’s funky Dumpstaphunk.

Vintage rock ‘n’ roll legends The Drifters and beach music and shag scene experts The Catalinas perform at the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina Heritage Stage (adjacent to the Sticky Fingers Plantation Park set up), along with Carolina blues singer/guitarist Drink Small and gospel/spiritual a cappella vocal ensemble The PlantationSingers.

The City Paper presents one of Charleston’s favorite country/pop vocalists, Cary Ann Hearst, and her band at the Charleston City Paper “Locals Only” Stage near the main gate. Local jazz/improv trio Gradual Lean are on the bill alongside gritty indie-rock trio Leslie and Columbia-based folk/rock singer/songwriter Danielle Howle.

In July, festival organizing partners – Riddick Lynch (of Shoreline Productions), Rick Jones (“head captain” of FishBait Marketing), and Rob Lamble (of Ear For Music) – and promoter Colleen Troy (of Touchpoint Comminications) announced Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO, www.dlo.com), a leading producer of iPod accessories, as the “presenting sponsor.”

Reserved seating tickets are on sale for $100 ($75 adv.). The general admission tickets run for $45 ($35 adv.). Discounted general admission is available for students at $35 ($25 adv.) Student tickets may be purchased only through Cat’s Music and Monster Music & Movies. A valid and current ID is necessary to qualify for purchase. Limit two tickets per purchase. Children’s discounts are also available. Charge by phone at 800-514-ETIX (3849).

Check out www.chazzfest.com for more. – T.Ballard Lesemann

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